Residents of New Zealand’s capital are cleaning up after a storm rated the worst in over four decades subsided.
Winds of up to 140km/h – gusting to 200km/h in exposed areas – lashed Wellington, felling trees, lifting roofs, smashing windows, closing roads and schools and cutting power to homes and businesses.
The repair work is likely to take days to complete.
Wellington Electricity managed to restore power to 25,000 customers cut off during the storm, but 5000 were still without electricity on Friday evening.
Wellington City Council spokesman Richard McLean said the wind had died down, but high tide on the south coast had pushed waves across the road, forcing police to close it.
Large boulders and tree trunks blocked the road, which is expected to be restricted to emergency vehicles for another day.
The storm smashed part of the sea wall on Island Bay, which survived the 1968 storm when the Wahine inter-island ferry sank in the entrance to Wellington Harbour with the loss of 53 lives.
The childhood holiday home of writer Katherine Mansfield was severely damaged by massive waves at Days Bay.
Emergency services and council staff are cleaning up, securing roofing iron and trying to clear fallen trees.
“It’s nothing compared to last night, but it’s still pretty grim,” McLean told AAP.
“It’s still blowing enough that it presents a risk to people and motorists.”
Most train services remained cancelled, as were some bus services, and many roads were still hazardous.
Flights in and out of Wellington Airport were going ahead but there were still delays.
McLean said it was miraculous that nobody was seriously hurt.
Meanwhile, the South Island is experiencing heavy snowfalls which have closed a number of roads.